Naughty Dog's "Uncharted" title almost tossed out over negative connotations in the UK

Developer reveals now-popular name was almost dropped because in the United Kingdom, a game that is "uncharted" means it didn't sell very well.

The now-popular Uncharted franchise was nearly called something else out of a fear that the "Uncharted" name would be detrimental to the game's success, Naughty Dog has revealed.

Speaking with IGN, Naughty Dog co-president Evan Wells said the developer was ready to use "Uncharted" for the game's E3 2006 reveal, but former PlayStation executive Phil Harrison (who now works at Microsoft) said this could be a bad idea.

"We were all ready to go out with [Uncharted]," Wells said. "And then Phil Harrison caught wind of it, and he's like, 'no, we can’t name it Uncharted.' In the UK, if you have a game that's 'uncharted,' that means it didn't do well, it didn't crack the Top 10. So he said, 'no, we can't do that.'"

The trailer for what would later be known as Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was still shown at E3 that year, but only a Naughty Dog logo was displayed at the end. This led fans to label the project "Dude Raider," a reference to the franchise's similarities to the Tomb Raider series, Wells said.

However, about three months later, Harrison changed his mind and allowed the project to go forward with the name Uncharted, Wells said. The series has since spanned three console games (Drake's Fortune, Among Thieves, and Drake's Deception), one project for PlayStation Vita (Uncharted: Golden Abyss), and a card game called Uncharted: Fight for Fortune.

A fourth Uncharted game is currently in development for the PlayStation 4. Actor Todd Stashwick has a role in the game, but that's all we know officially about the project.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

66 comments
PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

And so we see the first signs of Harrison's decent into madness, that ends with him getting a job at Microsoft.

Good work, Philly! I thought he was going to say he thought the title spoke negatively about the developers plans for the game, that they created it without a game plan or roadmap. No this makes much more sense. "And at number 5 in the charts we have Uncharted! No, wait, what?!"

"Dude Raider." Lol.

BradBurns
BradBurns

Not that it would matter very much since the UK game market is pretty insignificant compared to the size of the US. North American sales alone would guarantee all the sequels it got even without taking UK sales into account. 

Jasurim
Jasurim

Where do they find these people....

19James89
19James89

Phil Harrison worked for Sony and then jumped aboard Microsoft? 


He'll be working for Nintendo next.

Hurvl
Hurvl

Oh, I thought it was because the name Uncharted means it's actually something new, something that hasn't been done before. Well, we can't have that can we? Not when we have tried-and-true recipes of success that are getting stale but still make a sale.

rasterror
rasterror

As much as I tried to, I just never liked the Uncharted series. It was over cliched and too over the top. It's like if Michael Bay made Indiana Jones. Too many explosions but no depth.

youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

"The trailer for what would later be known as Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was still shown at E3 that year, but only a Naughty Dog logo was displayed at the end. This led fans to label the project "Dude Raider," a reference to the franchise's similarities to the Tomb Raider series, Wells said"

Nice to know I'm not the only person on earth who seems to remember that Tomb Raider preceded Uncharted by over a decade.  It's both tragic and hilarious when people say the Tomb Raider reboot was too much like Uncharted.

tomservo51
tomservo51

The title they had before was "CRAPPY GAME, DONT BUY IT" but they felt that was selling it short. 

rufusamatrix
rufusamatrix

Life is simpler than we think. That's what I learnt from this article, thank you bye bye...

kay2kid
kay2kid

Dude Raider sounds awesome

ccusick
ccusick

They should have called it "Pants!" 

b/c that's my favorite phrase from over there that ... well, means something else here in the USA.

well, after disqualifying tosser-- as not appropriate.

Vojtass
Vojtass

Corporate people are slaves of corporate thinking. Uncharted is an exception.

mattcake
mattcake

Yeah cos we are so stupid in the UK, we pick what games to spend £40 on based on the title alone. I bought "Super Happy Fun Land With Naked Women" instead of Uncharted and was really disappointed.

Bellum_Sacrum
Bellum_Sacrum

This has Phil Harrison's name it. It has to be dumb. He almost ruined the PS3, sank Atari and now he's sinking Microsoft too. Who is he going to ruin next?

pszone
pszone

names don't make games success because Last of Us didn't do well. 

endorbr
endorbr

That's over thinking it a bit to believe that people would get confused about sales charts...

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

But then they realised only retards would have made that mistake?

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

Speaking AS somone from the UK, if something doesn't chart we say it "didn't chart". Uncharted means exactly that, an area that hasn't been mapped. But sure, keep assuming you know our language better than us americans.
 (And yes, I'm aware Phil Harrison is british. He's also an idiot.)

sephsplace
sephsplace

@mattcakewell we in the UK are the kings and queens of sarcasm... so we'd understand the subtle joke in the title of "uncharted"


Alyzen
Alyzen

@pszone 

I'd call over 3.5 million copies sold worldwide doing well. Not breaking sales records, but still more than enough to make money for Naughty Dog.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Dannystaples14It's really stupid to think that it would be a bad omen to call the game Uncharted. It's such superstitious bullcrap that even athletes, with all their routines before an important game and favorite socks, would laugh about.

luke1889
luke1889

@DarkSaber2k I'm also from the UK and I'm pretty sure a lot of people don't even care about/discuss chart positions these days. The only time I've ever seen "charts" is in retailers like Game and HMV and - having worked at Game for several years some time ago - those don't even reflect sales figures most of the time anyway. I've been playing games since 2000 and if someone used the word uncharted, I'd never think of Phil Harrison's silly definition (though I can KINDA see where he's coming from).

sol_invictus55
sol_invictus55

@DarkSaber2k

British people do not know english better than Americans, half the words they use arent even real words or mean something completely different than their definition

endorbr
endorbr

@DarkSaber2kYour comment makes no sense as it was (as you even pointed out yourself) a Brit that took issue with the name.  The Americans were all ready to move forward with the name as originally intended.  Don't be a nationalist prat.

nameaprice
nameaprice

@PlatinumPaladin@youre_a_sheepthey need to come up with a way to make the "climbing" in TR like "more interactive". Like how the original was difficult to make jumps if you didnt set it up just right, like that but just not as frustrating, more fluid and interactive but still challenging 

jhcho2
jhcho2

@youre_a_sheep@kingcrimson24 

Not as good doesn't mean the same thing as 'bad'. Aliens: Colonial Marines was bad. Duke Nukem Forever was bad

nameaprice
nameaprice

@kamikazeespleen@kay2kidno thats "dudes tomb raider"

nameaprice
nameaprice

@PlatinumPaladin@rasterroroh and MGS4 which sucked balls, compared to MGS3

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

@rasterror @PlatinumPaladin  But it wasn't to Michael Bay's (terrible) standards. I really do love the Uncharted games, warts and all. But I also despise Bay's work. I may have overreacted but I simply had to respond to your comment and share my disapproval. 

scottpsfan14
scottpsfan14

@sol_invictus55 @SkyAboveThePortAmerican is an accent of English. Those dialects in England have been around for centuries, even a millennium or more. Long before America was even known to the civilized world. But of course America is the ultimate country right? so it invented the 'real' English.

SkyAboveThePort
SkyAboveThePort

@sol_invictus55 @SkyAboveThePort Both the American dialect and proper British English evolve, often in different directions. Doesn't change the fact that General American is still a dialect. Which one is "better" in any way, is purely subjective and a moot point. English is spoken in many countries, by billions of people, American in only one country. And if you want to talk about being "snobbish," just ask a guy from Texas or Kansas about his view of the Boston pronunciation...

sol_invictus55
sol_invictus55

@SkyAboveThePort @sol_invictus55

No actually most Americans excpet for New Englind and the deep south do not have any dialect, the way British speak was invented during the early industrial revolution by middle and upper class Londoners to try and distinguish themselves from the lower classes. So Americans seak normal English the British speak a snobbish made up version.